From VOA learning English, this is the Health Report.
Can eating chocolate prevent age-related memory loss? Can eating chocolate cake be good for your heart? That might be too good to be true, but new research suggests that large amounts of substances found in cocoa may reverse age- related memory failure. Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate. The substances are called flavanols.
Another study is trying to find out if high levels of cocoa flavanols can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Flavanols found in dark chocolate are known to increase blood flow in the part of the brain that controls memory. A new study published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that cocoa flavanols reverse minor memory loss in older adults. A company that makes chocolate helped pay for the study.
Dr. Scott Small is a professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City. His study involved 37 volunteers between 50 and 69 years of age. Every day for three months the volunteers drunk a flavanol substance made from cocoa beans. Some subjects got 900 milligrams of flavanol a day. Others received 10 milligrams. The subjects had brain imaging and took memory test before and after the study. Dr. Small says the subjects who had the drink with the most flavanol showed much improvement on memory tests.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts also has recently announced plans for a four- year study of flavanol. Dr. JoAnn Manson is the lead researcher of the study which involves 18,000 adults. Some will take flavanols every day. Others will take an inactive substance. The researchers hope to learn if flavanol improves heart health.